Mike Terry, Deseret News
The names of those who have participated in the organ donor transplant program are left engraved on the Celebration of Life Monument on Library Square in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010.

In past years, the people of Utah were given a challenge to make a New Year's Resolution to help save lives and sign up on the Yes Utah Donor Registry becoming organ donors. Well, people listened; they made their resolutions, and phenomenal things happened.

In 2011, The Utah donor registry reached a new level of over 1,290,000 people, about 74 percent of licensed drivers in Utah are signed up. Compared to the rest of the nation, Utah has one of the highest rates of participation on a donor registry. This says a lot about the giving, caring nature of Utah citizens.

Because of these high participation rates, good things happen. For example, more lives were saved than ever before. Over 280 people received life saving transplants in 2010, the largest number of lives saved in a one-year period for Utah. This year, 2011, even more lives were saved because people said "yes" to organ donation. Again, people caring about people and doing something about it.

The Good Samaritan Living Kidney Donor Program continues to grow and save lives. From its beginning in 2002, there have been 59 good Samaritan donors. These are people who don't even know their recipients. They stepped forward to donate a kidney because they felt the need to help someone.

Thanks to the people of Utah, who care so much about their fellow citizens, we are ending the suffering of many waiting for transplants. There are still over 570 Utahns waiting for a life-saving transplant.

If you haven't joined the Utah donor registry, I challenge you to sign up by saying "yes" on your driver's license. You can go online to www.yesutah.org or call 1-866-937-8824. Get the facts, and help save lives.

Keep up the good work Utah. The rest of the nation looks to our giving state as a beacon of hope for what they want to accomplish.

Alex McDonald is the director of public education/public relations for Intermountain Donor Services